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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2004 May;15(5):1330-8.

Differential risk of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy among Hispanic women.

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Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are leading complications of pregnancy that also portend increased risk of future chronic hypertension. Although rates of chronic hypertension differ between non-Hispanic Caucasian and Hispanic women, few studies examined their relative rates of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to compare the risk of preeclampsia and gestational hypertension in a prospective cohort of normotensive, nulliparous Hispanic (n = 863) and non-Hispanic Caucasian women (n = 2,381). Compared with non-Hispanic Caucasian women, Hispanic women demonstrated a significantly decreased incidence of gestational hypertension (1.6% versus 8.5%; P < 0.01), but a similar incidence of preeclampsia (3.8% versus 3.7%; P = 0.9). Adjusting for age, smoking, diabetes, BP, body mass index (BMI), and multiple gestation uncovered an increased relative risk (RR) for preeclampsia among Hispanic women (RR 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.3; P = 0.01), while their relative risk for gestational hypertension remained significantly decreased (RR 0.39; 95% CI, 0.22 to 0.72; P < 0.01). Among women who initially presented with hypertension during pregnancy, Hispanic women were over threefold (hazard ratio 3.3; 95% CI, 1.9 to 6.0; P < 0.01) more likely to develop preeclampsia than non-Hispanic Caucasian women. Besides Hispanic ethnicity, baseline BP, BMI, diabetes, and multiple gestation were independent risk factors for preeclampsia, whereas only baseline BP and BMI were associated with gestational hypertension. Socioeconomic status and access to prenatal care were not associated with either disorder. Hispanic ethnicity is independently associated with increased risk for preeclampsia and decreased risk for gestational hypertension. The initial presentation of hypertension during pregnancy in Hispanic women most likely represents early preeclampsia.

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